Yesterday’s Constituency elections of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) across the country, did not pass in a peaceful, uneventful and orderly manner.
It saw several incidents bereft of a nation that has been practicing partisan democracy and constitutional democracy for 30 uninterrupted years.
From Okaikwei South to Dome-Kwabenya constituencies of the Greater Accra Region, to the Kwadaso and Subin constituencies of the Ashanti Region to the Yendi Constituency in the Northern Region, there were incidents some of which led to the suspension of election process due to confusion over which album to use in conducting the elections.
In the Okaikwei South Constituency for instance, some angry delegates vowed to punish their party at the 2024 elections as scores accuse the Member of Parliament (MP) of the area, Dakoa Newman of deliberate disenfranchisement during the ongoing constituency election.
This was after chaos erupted earlier at the Prince of Peace polling station, when the aggrieved persons faced off with the Police over the alleged deletion of some 430 names from the register. They argue that despite the omission of their names, those affected should not be prevented from voting.
Four delegates were arrested for obstructing the Constituency elections. The conflict is not peculiar to only Okaikwei South.
The Ghana Police Service, later issued a statement on the arrests of two individuals, who posed as police officers at the voting grounds of the Okaikoi South.
The two, whose names were given as John Essel Bath and Enock Kwame Bosompem, were spotted at the Prince of Peace School compound at Bububiashie where the elections was taking place.
Some of the delegates whose names were not in the album, told JoyNews’ Kwesi Parker Wilson, that they will not forgive the party, if this misdeed is not rectified.
“By removing our names, she [Dakoa Newman] means she doesn’t want us in NPP, so in the next election, we won’t vote for her. This is her first and last term,” an aggrieved supporter said.
Another added, “We are seeing only new faces. Those who are not delegates here are rather voting. So we will either go independent or for NDC [National Democratic Congress] in the next election”
In the Subin Constituency of the Ashanti Region, there was heavy deployment of armed police officers to avert any possible disturbances.
This was because, some Constituency executive aspirants, vowed to resist any attempt to hold the election, saying they had been prevented from having copies of the party’s album and also insist that an injunction has been filed by some party members to prevent the elections from taking place.
Tension had been brewing in the Subin Constituency after some aspirants raised issues with the processes leading to the election.
They accused party leaders of breaching party rules in the build-up to the polls, thereby forcing them to seek an injunction to halt the electoral process.
There have also been allegations that the album for the elections does not contain names of qualified electorates, and must therefore not be used to conduct the elections.
Earlier, some persons locked up the party’s office to protest what they said were infractions in the polling station elections.
One of the aspirants for the chairmanship position, Mark Kyei, spoke to journalists about the concerns.
“This is an election that has an injunction placed on it. How do we proceed with it when the law says we shouldn’t go ahead with it? We are law-abiding citizens, so if people want to challenge it, they should follow due process. Everything has not gone well concerning the election. There is a lot of wrangling, and it’s very shameful.”
In Dome-Kwabenya, aspirants raised concerns about the legitimacy of the voter’s register with supporters of incumbent MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, alleging that names of their supporters from polling to zonal coordinators, have been expunged from the register. The aggrieved party members, have headed to two separate courts to injunct the elections.
The first case was filed at the Adenta High Court by one Edward Antwi-Sarpong, demanding that the upcoming elections be put on hold until the outstanding issues are addressed.
The Court, however, struck out the case, citing the plaintiff’s inability to satisfy all internal conflict resolution processes.
The second injunction application is currently before the Kwabenya Circuit Court, brought to it by some Zonal Coordinators, it was adjourned on Wednesday following a change in the lawyer of the defendants.
Youth Organizer of the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency, who is seeking the position of Organizer, David Obiri-Yeboah in an interview with JoyNews, indicated that there was evidence to show that names of the MP’s supporters were removed.
“The current state of the voter’s register is not fit for purpose. As we speak now, I can tell you that some 10 supporters of Adwoa Safo, have been removed from the list at the Balloon Gate Polling Station…” he alleged.
The Communications Director, who is now contesting the position of Constituency Treasurer, Welbeck Ato Sefah, added that there is no fairness in the entire election process. He accused the Constituency election committee Chairman of being the mastermind behind the anomalies recorded.
“If there is any person to blame, it should be the Elections Committee Chairman. He is the one causing all this. It isn’t the case that there are dissidents in Dome-Kwabenya, we just want fairness in the elections …” he added.
But Aide to the MP, Dubin Nana Kwapong, expressed worry about a deliberate attempt to thwart the efforts of the MP.
According to him, the machinations orchestrated against Adwoa Safo and supporters seem to be a party agenda.
“There seems to be a certain agenda against the honorable Member of Parliament. It is a party thing, because we’ve made several calls to any person related to the issue so far as this election is concerned nobody is willing and ready to listen to us and what we have to say. It is as if their minds are made up, they want to get rid of Adwoa Safo,” he stated.
Meanwhile, he has confirmed that Sarah Adwoa Safo, will not be present for the elections, but will return to the Constituency afterwards.
In the Kwadaso Constituency also, concerns were raised concerns over the exercise, the aggrieved members are accusing the party’s leadership in the Constituency of scheming to manipulate the elections. They accused the leaders of deliberately choosing their loyalists to run for the election.
One of them, Augustine Sackey, said the that confusion is imminent due to many infractions committed by the party leadership, adding the Constituency leaders are only working hard to satisfy their parochial interests, instead of the general welfare of the entire party membership.
“The problem is that people are here for their selfish interests, and they’re refusing to allow others to take part in the elections. These executives that we have, they’ve been there for three consecutive times and none of them was elected. It was only through popular acclamation or unopposed. And this time around, we don’t want this to happen again and that’s why we are sounding a warning to the leadership that they have to come out and make sure justice is done,” he said.
Mr Sackey, also noted that the injustice in the Kwadaso case, will create apathy and that the party may lose many votes in the next few years.
He called upon regional and national officials to intervene.
Another disgruntled member, Moses Agyei Asamoah, also noted that the story of the elections in Kwadaso is very bad and therefore, they were only trying to make sure that the right thing is done.
But after raising concerns during the compilation of the new Constituency album, the constituency’s party leadership called on the military to intervene.
He said the incident was reported to the leadership at the regional level but nothing has happened.
Mr Asamoah, said their only fear is that the actions of the leaders can grossly affect votes in the Constituency and prevent the party from breaking the eight in the 2024 elections.
Efforts to speak to the Constituency chairman, Bonna Boadi proved futile.
The elections in Yendi in the Northern Region, have been suspended due to confusion over which album to use in conducting the elections.
The confusion, she reported is between supporters of the Constituency Chairman and another faction that supports the MP, Farouk Aliu Mahama.
The matter was referred to the party’s steering committee to be discussed for a new date to be announced but NPP delegates expressed disappointment over the development. They have also accused some top officials in the Party of manipulating the electoral process to favour their candidates.
A Polling Station Officer at the Yendi Senior High School Electrical Area, Abdulai Tamimo said they were not privy to any information on the suspension of the elections, adding that they only arrived at the venue this morning to be told it has been cancelled after all the preparations and expenditure they incurred.
He said the Party has its structures which ideally should be followed and not for a few leaders with personal interests, to manipulate the process.
Another Electoral Coordinator, Hudu Abubakari said NPP as a Party and a government has failed due to the inability to resolve the issues in Yendi since it started early this year.
Mr Hudu, also accused the Party leadership of protecting the interest of a few members against the masses in Yendi and that could pose dire consequences in 2024.
“NPP as a Party has failed. The government has failed. Why do I say that? This is just a machination being dome by people sitting in Accra…How can those people sit in Accra and decide for us? So it is as if the NPP as a Party is taking us for granted,” he noted.
Abdul Shaban, also a Polling Station Executive on his part said, the Party had bent its own rules it set for the elections, which is disappointing.
“I am highly disappointed in the Party’s structure and leadership, they put up the rules and then not use it because a failed parliamentary aspirant wants to have the elections done her way. I am highly disappointed,” he said.
Mr Shaban said, there is information available to them that the President is siding with the Chief Executive Officer of MASLOC, the reason for the suspension of the exercise.
“Our information out there is that the President is saying that because the album is not favouring Abibata the MASLOC CEO, he is putting on hold the elections, Farouk has spent his whole life, personal resources in building this Constituency. He has served some of us, if not for Faruok, some of us would have left NPP,” he said.
He cautioned that if the leadership of the Party does not put the interest of the masses first, they will have themselves to blame.